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GNU/Linux Desktop Survival Guide
by Graham Williams
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Available Packages


The Debian packaging system relies on your local system having some idea of what packages are available. This is initialised when you install your system. You will generally need to update this list of packages with what is currently available from the Debian archives for downloading. If you are staying with the stable release you generally only need to update the list of available packages once. The following command is used to update the information about what is available for downloading:

  $ wajig update                (dselect update)

(In brackets after the wajig command is the underlying command that wajig calls upon to perform the operation.)

This uses entries in the file /etc/apt/sources.list to know where to get the list of available packages from and which release of Debian you wish to follow. You can edit this file with:

  $ wajig editsources           (apt-setup)

You need to understand the format of the file /etc/apt/sources.list as explained in the manual page:

  $ man sources.list

It is pretty straightforward and we will see examples in the next section.

If you have a Debian CD-ROM or DVD-ROM then you can tell apt what is available on it using:

  $ wajig add-cd-rom

If you want to check when you last did an update then:

  $ wajig last-update

There are quite a few archives available and you can test for a good connection to one with:

  $ wajig netselect-apt

This will write a candidate sources.list in the current directory, which you can then review and add to the system sources.list, if you wish, with

  $ wajig edit-sources

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